Ravens of Eternity -
Chapter 443 - 443 Ragnarök, Pt 8
443 Ragnar?k, Pt Freya sat samurai-style in the center of Thanatos’ bridge, as she usually did. Big difference now however was simply that she was no longer accompanied only by Amarok. Surrounding her were her own techs and analysts seated at their terminals in the concentric trenches around her.
The ink black lines that ran down her face and skin ebbed and thinned down to tiny strands as she minimized her telepathic connection to her devastator. And in doing so, allowed those around the bridge itself to pilot Thanatos for her.
That more or less freed Freya up to analyze the battlefield in front of her. All the incoming data poured straight into her mind, through Thanatos’ intelligences and circuits. And of course, relayed what she determined to the rest of the officers on the Tactical Bridge. She did her best to read the information, and glean potential strategies the fleet could take.
She knew she was nothing like Lucifer in that regard. Ze was a strategic and tactical genius, and she was… successfully impulsive. And so she had zero problem allowing the more experienced battlefield officers to do the heavy lifting in that regard.
Freya might have been their leader, but she was nothing without her officers.
With her piloting Thanatos at a minimum, and with her ability to command spread out, she realized she didn’t have much to do on the actual battlefield itself. Except of course, bring down the hammer when the tacticians deemed it best.
Freya’s eyes flicked open as an idea wove its way through her mind.
She then took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and stilled her mind. As she exhaled, she reached out telepathically and touched everyone on the bridge around her.
Like what she had done so many times before with Lucifer and with Amarok, she opened a connection to those around her telepathically. Though unlike those times, she didn’t open pathways to her full consciousness and instead extended her aura out to those around her.
By doing so, she imbued her own bridge crew with a part of herself – her courage, her resilience, her unwavering sense of self. And, just as importantly, aspects of her own traits.
Both Tiamat’s Transcendence and Sekhmet’s Bloodlust poured through her and seeped into those around her. Not at their full strength and intensity of course, just a portion, just a slice. Just enough of herself that they all felt emboldened and empowered, all with hints of foresight and ferocity.
In doing so, all those around her were immediately inspired by her powerful presence. Most of their fears and anxieties receded, even despite the overwhelming enemies all around them. In their place came a need to survive, a need to fight, a need to come together and pull through. Many as one.
Freya hardly stopped with her own skeleton crew and pushed herself outward even further. Her head throbbed lightly as she reached out to the rest of the Einherjar and before long began to breathe heavily from the effort.
And the further she reached out, the more her mind strained. It even affected her physical self to the point where her whole body tensed up from the sheer effort.
But she aimed to reach every single Einherjar, thousands and thousands of them. From the high admirals to the analysts to the engineers to the junior deckhands to the mecha pilots. Everyone.
She began to feel a little bit spread thin, as though she herself was all over the battlefield itself.
Perhaps in a way, she was.
Freya grit her teeth as she reached the very limits of her abilities and her consciousness. But there was still so much to go, so many more to cover and support. No way could she leave them out – each and every single one of them was critical.
She poured the energies of her Ascendant Form straight into herself, and by extension, into everyone she was connected to, as well. So with breaths hot and heavy, she pushed all the way out, and connected to everyone in the fleet.
All immediately felt their minds and bodies strengthen. Their blood pumped heavily through their veins as their own internal energies rose. As a result, their fears and anxieties and worries melted away and were replaced with a sense of purpose and sacrifice and indomitability.
Einherjar fighter pilots wove between all the enemy weapons fire with thunder and flame pumping through their veins. Their senses were firing on every level to the point that it felt as though they could almost see the future.
All pushed their bodies further and faster as they evaded and maneuvered to the point of blacking out.
Empowered as such, they were able to tear into their enemies with even greater force than before. They eviscerated the skirmishers around them, even as they weathered incoming fire.
Gunners aboard every ship were equally as inspired and as infused with power. They performed quick, precise maneuvers with their massive guns with such efficiency that they carved their way into their targets with extreme efficiency.
Engineers adjusted their ships’ systems and modules with almost preternatural expertise to the point that they answered problems moments before they arrived. Any circuit malfunctions were literally neutralized seconds after they appeared.
Tacticians and analysts pored through the raw data with speed, processed it all in a flash, and presented their reports even before their commanders and officers needed them.
Every officer on every ship was also deeply emboldened, not just from Freya’s influence, but also from the sheer overwhelming effectiveness that their own crews demonstrated. It was as though everything was operating smoothly and perfectly – an impossibility at any other time.
Those at the highest echelons of command were even more empowered by everything happening all around them. Everyone on the Tactical Bridge was moving and thinking and reacting at their absolute best, their absolute peak.
Data was analyzed rapidly, countermeasures were determined instantly, and tactics were deployed with speed.
Although every movement and decision and action was small, when put together, the entire fleet moved and fought with a kind of grace and preternatural energy that immediately frightened their opponents.
It seemed to the Discordians that the Einherjar moved and fought as one. Their ships seemed to flow and move in such ways that seemed almost impossible. Similar to how the Imperial fleets moved like giant swarms of barracuda, the Einherjar appeared to flow around space as though they were in their element.
In many ways, they certainly were.
With Freya orchestrating their solidarity and inseparability through her Fleet Ascendancy, the Einherjar appeared to be close to insurmountable.
Many of the Discordians began to lose their nerve. Some would have outright fled, if not for Eris pushing and prodding them violently further over comms.
“Keep fighting, you dogs!” she shouted at them through their MFDs. “Extra bonuses for every Einherjar ship you take down! And if you decide to keel over and die to them, just know that I’ll have you regenerated just so I can end you a second time!”
And so with fear and trepidation at their backs, many of the Discordians pushed forward and fought against the wholly insurmountable Einherjar.
But with fear deep in their hearts.
Back on Thanatos’ bridge, Freya was breathing heavily as she strained from the sheer exertion. Both her mind and body were running at their absolute peak – no way could she go on forever. Sweat poured from her forehead as she fought with herself to keep it all together, to keep her energies swirling through the Einherjar.
Despite the massive effort she was going through, she knew she couldn’t just stop. She felt as though they all needed to bring everything they had to the fight. If they didn’t, they stood to lose, well, everything.
She didn’t want to imagine what it would be like to have someone like Eris in control of the galaxy. But she was sure it was something no-one but Eris wanted.
Just as her thoughts turned towards Eris, the Pirate Queen herself appeared on Thanatos’ bridge. Or at least, her holoprojection.
The woman’s pale face was framed by her wild and chaotic dark red hair. But what Freya noticed most was the murderous, gleeful grin that was etched on it. She realized that all this death and destruction and wanton carnage was something Eris reveled in.
She could understand the feeling – all of the Einherjar reveled in their own dance of death. They too soaked themselves in the primal power of sheer lethality. Except for one thing. Not one of them found joy in the death they caused.
And yet that joy was clear and present on Eris’ face.
“There you are,” said the Pirate Queen. “Been looking all over for ya. Since you’ve come alllll this way just to stop me, may as well come right at me. Or me at you, whatever works best.”
Outside, the Discordians shifted their formation yet again. They withdrew from their envelopment of the Einherjar devastators and formed two separate flanking lines on each side. Eris then led five Discordian devastators and engaged the Einherjar down the center line, particularly Thanatos.
Her own flagship was front and center.
Freya quickly calculated their positions, predicted their next actions, and with confirmation from her trait, quickly understood that Eris’ gambit was to kill her quickly. Or at least, that’s what she wanted her to think.
She needed to know if it was a ruse, and it wasn’t enough to rely on her instinct alone. Too much was at stake here.
She needed Lucifer, but Lucifer was gone.
Mostly gone, anyway. At least hir words remained.
Freya dug deep into everything ze taught and everything she learned. And without hesitation, quickly pulled all of the signal data fresh from Thanatos’ sensors and dug straight into them. She pooled them all into one collective dataset and reviewed everything she could observe.
Their weapons are at 90% power, she told herself. But not overcharged. No. Most of their overcharge energies are going into defenses and repairs… They’re primed for a counter? Or just being careful?
Or is Eris simply being Eris and doing her best to be unpredictable? Chaotic?
It suddenly dawned on Freya that Eris was indeed being Eris. Only chaos wasn’t her actual forte – that’s just what she wanted people to believe. Her real strength was in misdirection and always had been.
Highly calculated moves hidden by clever misdirections.
There was absolutely nothing chaotic about that. In fact, introducing a little chaos into her plans was probably the best way to undo them.
“Yeah, yeah,” Freya told Eris brusquely. “I’ll get to you soon enough. It’s the rest of your fleet that’s more important, honestly. We deal with them first, then the two of us can have it out.”
Eris was visibly taken aback, but only for a brief moment. She was stunned by Freya’s dismissal of her, as though she was merely a bit player on the field. As though she was unimportant.
Red flashed across her eyes as her anger rose.
“I don’t think you’re taking this seriously!” she shouted. “This is the fight of our lifetimes! Don’t you get it?! The fate of the entire galaxy is happening right here, right now, between every major power. The two of us are right in the middle of it. Whoever comes out on top gets all of it!”
“And you’re taking this way too seriously,” taunted Freya. “This is just another big damned fight in a long history of big damned fights. What’s happening here is nowhere near the first or the last. So whatever glory you’ve dreamed up for yourself is only just a fucking illusion.
“Now, wait your turn.”
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